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Arcade: Platform
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Graham Taylor
Chris Bourne

Interesting to compare this game with The Master since both use superficially similar materials to produce utterly different games.

Spike is not half-bad and perfectly exemplifies all you can reasonably hope for from a £1.99 game. It isn't original in any fundamental way, most of the individual elements come from Miner - platforms, switches which make invisible platforms appear, small but nicely animated sprites, keys to collect, exits to reach on each screen.

Yawn-making perhaps, but the whole game has been very well designed in the sense that solving puzzles on how to reach certain objects requires thought as well as reflexes.

The idea that actual thought and route planning strategies, rather than just jumping the objects at the right time, was important to Manic Miner seems to be missed by many people who in other respects rip off its ideas - one of the reasons so many Miner clones, even technically clever ones, fail to have anything like the same appeal. More specifically, to get anywhere in Spike you'd better master the art of balancing on one edge of a platform by just a heel.

The whacky sprites are marginally more whacky than those in The Master or, at least they seem more authentically off the wall than merely just tired and forced. Though there is nothing technically amazing here, what there is looks professional and slick.

The plot is barely worth mentioning. You play what looks like a very depressed anteater - Spike - and must pass through a large number of screens, getting keys to open doors, pressing switches to reveal hidden platforms, and generally jumping your way to the Dream Sphere hidden deep in the caverns. You must then bring the sphere back through the caverns and deposit it in the Hall of Dreams. The usual stuff.

Spike is fun, definitely a good few days' entertainment, perhaps even a few weeks. In terms of budget software, a first division product.

Label: Firebird
Author: Anad
Price: £1.99
Joystick: None
Memory: 48K
Reviewer: Graham Taylor


One of the best budget Miner style games around. Nothing amazing, but all very well done.